- You Have to Apply to Join This Vacation, A Three Month Foreign Adventure –Websites like Unfixed Points (www.UnfixedPoints.com), where you live your life on vacation, are growing exponentially. You can now live and work in three exotic cities in three different countries for less than the cost of staying home. UnfixedPoints.com offers the chance to experience three different South American cities for 30 days each, in a program that includes transportation, housing, work space, 24/7 in-country support, plus social events and excursions with a peer group of about 30 other adventurous travelers. Perfect for people who can work remotely via the internet, including writers, programmers, entrepreneurs, and consultants. Space is very limited and applications are being accepted now for the fall.
- Private Cabin Robots to Fulfill Your Every Whim – As the luxury sector begins to explore private robot butlers for apartment living, luxury cruise lines will begin to implement the technology aboard 5-star ships. Using a special tablet, guests will be able to request that the robot butlers perform tasks such as delivering packages, supplies, meals and drinks right to the door of their cabin- without ever having to make a customer service call. Think this sounds like something from the Jetsons? The technology is already available, and goes into practice via electronic valets in a Los Angeles luxury apartment building called “Ten Thousand” that opens to renters in January 2017.
- Suites Are Hot! Modern Young Families like Suites as They Travel with Children – Millennials love to take their children with them on vacation and need space for the family luggage, children's playthings and all the other accoutrements that come with family travel. To read about some of the poshest family suites at sea, click here.
- Redefining Ultra Luxury Cruises– With the launch of all-suite, all-balcony, 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer in July 2016, Regent Seven Seas brought what they consider "the world's most luxurious ship ever built" into the game. Christened by Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, this ship has 375 all-suite, all-balcony accommodations, impeccable dining and Gourmet Explorer Tours that bring new meaning to luxury. Look for the lines to follow this ship's Ultra-Luxury example.
- All-Inclusive Cruise Vacations– Although the concept of an all-inclusive cruise began with the Ultra-Luxury sector, a wide variety of lines are following suit, and including more amenities such as, internet, specialty coffees, all cocktails, airfare, shore excursions, plus many more. As an example, Viking Cruises, who recently entered the ocean-faring sector with their Viking Ocean ships offers many inclusions on their ship, the Star. Every stateroom has a balcony, and includes 24-hour room service, Wi-Fi, access to the full Nordic-themed spa, laundry facilities, and all onboard meals (which include beer and wine), There is also an included excursion in every port. To see what what's included on each of the lines for 2017, please click here.
- Your Room Key Will Be Key– The technology for keys will change, and take on new form and features. A simple waterproof bracelet will be your room key, and offer you the ability to check in for reservations, enter exclusive areas, open the pool gate, charge food and merchandise purchases, and much more. This technology is already in place in Disney Resorts, and you'll see it spread like wildfire through the cruise industry as cruise lines up the convenience factor.
The included GPS technology will also allow keep an eye on your children electronically- you will be able to see where your family and friends are at the twist of your wrist.
- Experiential Travel Brings You into Homes … and Lives at your Destination – The best way to truly experience a region and its culture is to fully immerse yourself in it. The experiential travel movement is already underway with shore excursions like the “Azamara Club Cruises' Insider Access” program, where excursions travel to private homes, farms, villas, and more to experience authentic culture as it unfolds. Look for this trend to expand, as the cruise lines delve deeper into the regions they visit for a true taste of what it means be a part of the region and its customs. AllThingsCruise writer Michelle da Silva Richmond sailed on Viking River and “… Went to a gingerbread-making demonstration at Café Simon, which is owned by four generations of that family. We were treated to “pounch,” – a hot rum drink – and samples of the dark cake, which we were surprised to learn, doesn't actually call for ginger!” Read more about this excursion here.
- The Wind on Your Face, The Salt in Your Hair, Your Ship is your Destination–With ships that cater to a guest's every whim, days at sea seem to be gaining in popularity. Many lines are offering cruises that stay almost completely at sea, with very limited times in port. Take, for example, this Seabourn cruise, that spends 10 of its 12 days at sea:
12-Day Atlantic Sunsets
Starting in Lisbon with stops in Madeira, Miami
2017 Sails: Oct 18
- Live Entertainment Taking on New Forms –Holland America's ms Koningsdam World Stage, for example has high-definition LED screens that are two stories high and 250 feet long, and can showcase a variety of performances and productions. Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas offers ROBOSHOW Two70's troupe of six agile Roboscreens® that measure over seven feet each and are controlled by powerful robotic arms. Despite their size, these robots are surprisingly nimble as they perform independently or as a group.
- River Cruise Lines Step Up Destinations, and Ships –Demand has created a new destination focus for the river cruise lines- India. AMA Waterways is currently building a new ship estimated to sail in fall 2018, and whose cruising route will be on the Ganges River between Patna and Kolkata. Other exotic new river destinations gaining popularity for 2017 include Borneo and Africa, with cruises being pioneered by lines such as Pandaw and CroisiEurope. CroisiEurope intends to launch two new ships into Africa in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and Pandaw will be starting cruises in Borneo in February 2017.
Interested in Cruising to Africa?
Crystal Cruises, Crystal Esprit
9 Nights - 7610 - Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises
Sails March 3, 2016
Starting in Dubai with stops in Victoria, St. Anne Island, Cousin Island, Praslin, La Passe, Laraie Bay, Aride, Big Sister Island
Want to visit Borneo?
Oceania Cruises, Oceania Insignia
28 Nights - Spiritual Retreats - Bali (Benoa) Indonesia to Singapore Singapore
Sails March 17, 2016
Starting in Benoa with stops in Cruising the Java Sea, Cruising The Karimata Strait, Borneo, Cruising the South China Sea, Muara, Manila, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Cruising the Hainan Strait, Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Cruising the Gulf of Thailand, Bangkok, Ko Samui, Singapore
- The Spirit of Adventure for New Destinations – Interest in Expedition Cruising has surged, and look for this trend to continue. Beginning in 2017, we'll be seeing the addition of new ships dedicated to adventure cruising. The refurbished Celebrity Xperience and Celebrity Xploration will join the line's fleet in January and will cruise the Galapagos. Lindblad Expeditions launches its brand-new ship, National Geographic Quest, in June 2017 in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Due to the interest in planet-friendly eco-tourism, more will follow in short order.
- Apps for Cruise Travel – Apps come in a variety of incarnations- there are apps designed by the cruise lines, and independent designs that make everything from organizing your trip to finding wi-fi in port a snap! Here are a couple of our favorites:
TripIt -This is an independent pre-cruise organizer. You can keep track of flight information, transfers, cruise itineraries, and pre- or post-cruise hotel bookings with ease using this handy app. TripIt offers manual and automated options and can be synced with your calendar to cue reminders. The upgraded TripIt Pro also provides real-time flight alerts, seat tracking, and refund notifications, among other features.
Norwegian iConcierge - This Norwegian Cruise Line app is available on board Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, and Pride Of America.
• Shore Excursions Previews and Bookings
• Restaurant Information with Menus and Bookings
• Entertainment Information and Reservations
• Folio Review
• General Information, such as Onboard Services, Spa Services, and Shopping
• Daily Activities
• Cruise Rewards Information
• Messenger/Phone Features with Other Guests during your cruise (Nominal One-Time Fee During Cruise)
• Phone Calling with Family and Friends Back Home (Nominal Per Minute Fee During Cruise)
To learn more about the cruise lines, and what they offer, click here.
CruiseCompete member-agents are the most well-educated, forward-thinking and trusted cruise specialists in the industry. If you'd like more information or assistance planning your next vacation, please visit us at http://www.cruisecompete.com/ or http://www.cruisecompete.com/group_cruises/.